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Entries in Mesa County (17)

Wednesday
Oct192016

Mesa County Government, Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Previous Sheriff Hilkey, Multiple Mesa County Deputies, and Contracted Mesa County Healthcare Provider Hit with Massive Lawsuit 

VetTheGov usually performs searches on Pacer from time to time and VetTheGov came across this massive lawsuit filed in district court against Mesa County Government entities Case #16CV851, filed in April-2016, related to the death of Tomas Beauford at the Mesa County Detention Facility. Named in the lawsuit are former Sheriff Hilkey and sixteen other Mesa County deputies, Correct Care Solutions, LLC (contracted healthcare provider for the county jail), four nurses, a correctional physicians and healthcare group connected to CCS.

Mesa County taxpayers are under contract with CCS for just under $140,000.00 monthly for healthcare related services to jail inmates. CCS, based on court filings, seems to have a long history of similar issues and litigation when providing medical services for local county jails (see paragraphs 152-172 in below case filing). Mesa County has employed the services of Lewis Brisbois Denver office to represent the county and employees named in the litigation. Only time will tell how much this event will cost the taxpayers of Mesa County.

The current case is currently at the point of discovery in which motion after motion will be filed by both sides. Stay tuned as VetTheGov will keep you apprised of any outcomes in this case! In the meantime, please read the disturbing case below.

 

Tomas Beauford-picture taken from public lawsuit

Saturday
Jan092016

BREAKING: Battered Spouse Seeks Help from Commissioner Justman Via Email with No Response

In what seems like a movie headline Fifty Shades of Corruption within Mesa County government this story will leave you speechless yet wondering how these events continue to happen. Situations like these leaves VetTheGov asking why local citizens come to a blog writer for help. Shameful really that local citizens must rely on an independent blog for help when they pay for these expected services from the County. So please pay close attention on how and why the local system is not designed for the average citizen.

In the email presented below you will read a battered wife's call for help from Commissioner John Justman via an email on November 17, 2015. The emails title alone County Employee Complaint should have left no doubt the email was valid and needed a response for action. Commissioner Jutman to date has never responded to this delivered email not passed it on to the county administrator for further investigation. The author of the email Barbara Mathes had just recently filed a restraining order against her husband Jerry Mathes for fear of more violence against her. As you will see Jerry had a connection to Mesa County government via his brother Pete Mathes current Mesa County Road & Bridge Construction Manager. In Barbara's call for help she mentions Pete's continued driving to her property in order to intimidate her so her son Wade set up cameras to document the continued harassment, terror, and intimidation by Pete and Jerry as noted in the email below to Commissioner Justman. 

With multiple complaints lodged with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office there has been very little performed to stop this harassment and intimidation by Pete and Jerry Mathes. Instead it appears because of Pete's influence within the county government they are receiving favored decisions by road deputies. For instance on December 1, 2015 Barbara stopped by her home around 4 PM to pick up the mail and found Jerry, Pete, and multiple others at the house going through everything at the house. Barbara called 911 again since the final mediation order had not yet been signed properly for Jerry to return to the house. Upon the deputy arriving and meeting Pete and Jerry at the residence the deputy apparently knew Pete and they shook hands. After the meeting with Jerry and Pete the deputy went back to Barbara and told her she needed to leave immediately. Barbara was adamant about the status of the order and asked the deputy to call the court house to verify. Ultimately Barbara was still required to leave. The courts have also requested twice for the Mesa County Sheriff's Office to collect Jerry Mathes' guns to no avail and Barbara suspects Pete is in possession and so the Sheriff's Office's won't pursue the order due to the relationship Pete has with other county employees within this department.

In yet another twist, Jerry & Barbara's daughter Stacy Seriani who lives in Paonia, CO had all three of her kids removed from school around December 14, 2015 and interrogated by Mesa County Department of Human Services workers one being a Sarah Evans Senior Case Manager and another unidentified DHS employee. The investigation and interrogation arose from an anonymous complaint stating that Stacy and her husband Jon F. Seriani, both Paonia High School coaches, were using methamphetamines. No local authorities such as the Delta County Sheriff or Delta County DHS were notified prior to this contact of the kids by Mesa County DHS. The parents are stating their kids ages 7, 10, and 16 are receiving therapy after the questioning they had to endure and let's just say they were very intrusive. Interesting to note in the questioning of the kids were several references and concerns regarding their Grandmother Barbara Mathes. Upon Stacy contacting Mesa County DHS and speaking to Sarah Evan's supervisor Lynette Overmeyer requesting a report of the situation which was unfounded to determine who made the wrongful allegations. Lynette offered the report to Stacy and called her to confirm it was ready but when Stacy arrived to gather the report she was told it would not be available for another 60 days. In the meantime Stacy has had to get her own restraining order against her father Jerry for continued harassment by phone.

VetTheGov has many concerns regarding the government side of this equation. First and foremost is the no response from Commissioner Justman regarding a plea for help. VetTheGov isn't surprised as many emails have gone unanswered from Commissioner Justman in the recent past as well. But what if Barbara Mathes was harmed after sending out this plea? It places massive blame and liability on the county taxpayers for the inability of a county commissioner to respond to constituents especially an email whose subject stated: COUNTY EMPLOYEE COMPLAINT. VetTheGov will pursue county records proving the email was opened and viewed and will update as soon as the information becomes available. VetTheGov will also attempt to contact Commissioner Justman and ask if he recalls the email. VetTheGov has set an appointment with Frank Whidden to discuss the original complaint to make sure it moves forward. Again stay tuned as VetTheGov will keep you updated.

VetTheGov will also be setting appointments with the Sheriff to discuss why so much inaction from this county department regarding this case. If the citizens of Mesa County are to have any trust in matters where there are conflicts of interest with Mesa County employees then the public needs reassuring they can count on fairness and equal protection with no signs of favoritism displayed or used.

VetheGov is very disappointed in the behavior of Mesa County DHS in that powers granted to agents that can simply take kids and interrogate them in any jurisdiction without any form of due process or notification in other jurisdictions is beyond belief and should be independently investigated immediately by a third party entity!

Stay tuned as VetTheGov will keep you updated on any other documents received as well as after meetings are attended.

Wednesday
Sep232015

How to Stop Federal Overreach by challenging Federal Grants into your community!

On September 21, 2015 VetTheGov attended the weekly Mesa County Commissioner meeting to confirm to the commissioners regarding the recent BLM's decision to close 4,000 miles of access to our public lands with zero consideration of petitions otherwise to contest the BLM decision.  During the business considerations a $52,000.00 Federal Grant from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was being considered for acceptance.  So VetTheGov stood and asked for the item to be moved to Individual Consideration.  It was moved by the commissioners and the below video will show you how to simply stand up and request specific answers be met.  Well the Grant approval was postponed and VetTheGov has since requested a full accounting of last years funding for the same Federal Grant.  

 

Below you will find the financial docs related to the Federal Grant revenue received and expenditures mostly for the emergency manager Andy Martsolf's paycheck and benefits, vehicle expenses, trips, sit & stand desktop equipment, and his cell phone expense all paid via Mesa County commingled General Funds. 

 

The following information was located from the original FEMA Grant posted online:

1. Have EMAC Membership http://www.fema.gov/pdf/emergency/nrf/EMACoverviewForNRF.pdf

2. Adopt NIMS http://www.fema.gov/national-incident-management-system

3. Adherence to all of the Acts under EHP http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1421336453304-d48abd61f8b2a35d2bad325ae49ae531/FP1080231_Environmental_Planning_Historic_Preservation_Policy.pdf & http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1388411752234-6ddb79121951a68e9ba036d2569aa488/18Dec13-NoNEPAReview.pdf

4. MUST comply with SAFECOM http://www.dhs.gov/safecom

5. Only 5% of award allowed for Management & Administration expenses.

6. MUST Comply with all of these!!!  http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/FY%2015%20Standard%20TC%20Version%205.1%202015-2-23.pdf

7. Develop and Maintain (long-term) a THIRA https://www.fema.gov/threat-and-hazard-identification-and-risk-assessment

8. Maintain EOP's and update every 2 years https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/25975

9. Complete the following Trainings:
In addition to training activities aligned to and addressed in the TEP, all EMPG Program funded
personnel shall complete the following training requirements and record proof of completion:
NIMS Training, Independent Study (IS)100, IS 200, IS 700, and IS 800, and other Independent Study courses identified in FEMA Professional Development Series.
Previous versions of the IS courses meet the NIMS training requirement. A complete list of Independent Study Program
Courses may be found at http://training.fema.gov/is

10. Develop and Maintain the following exercise program: 
All recipients will develop and maintain a progressive exercise program, consistent to the degree practical, with the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP)
in support of the National Exercise Program (NEP). The NEP is critical to our Nation’s ability to test and validate core capabilities. To this end, grantees are highly encouraged to nominate exercises
into the NEP. For additional information on the NEP, please refer to http://www.fema.gov/national-exercise-program

11. Conduct no less than 4 exercise programs per calendar year and report all trainings and exercises.

12. Adhere to following guidelines:
• Coordination of Investments–resources must be allocated to address the most critical capability needs as identified in their SPR and coordinated among affected preparedness stakeholders.
•Transparency–stakeholders must be provided visibility on how preparedness grant funds are allocated and distributed, and for what purpose.
•Substantive Local Involvement–the tools and processes that are used to inform the critical priorities which DHS/FEMA grants support must include local government representatives. At the
state and regional levels, local risk assessments must be included in the overarching analysis to ensure that all threats and hazards are accounted for.
•Flexibility with Accountability–recognition of unique preparedness gaps at the local level, as well as maintaining and sustaining existing capabilities.
•Support of Regional Coordination–recognition of inter/intra-state partnerships and dependencies at the state and regional levels, and within metropolitan areas.

Mesa County Sheriff's Office responded to the above items with the following statements:

The following topics were specifically addressed by Mr. King in a follow up email exchange with the County Attorney:

1. EMAC Membership: EMAC is a compact that exists between states. The State of Colorado is an EMAC member. No responsive documents.
2. Adopt NIMS: Mesa County adopted NIMS on June 13, 2005 with resolution MCM 2005-097 (Attached)
3. Adherence to Acts under EHP: No responsive documents.
4. SAFECOM. This grant does not provide communication equipment. No responsive documents.
5. M&A: 0% of this grant is applied to M&A. No responsive documents.
6. Compliance with laws: No responsive documents.
7. THIRA: Currently a state requirement. Mesa County's hazard risk assessment is contained within the Hazard Mitigation Plan (Attached).
8. EOP Maintenance: 2013 version of EOP (Attached).
9. Training Requirements: EMPG funded personnel meet training requirements
10. Exercise Program: Training and Exercise plan is included in quarterly report-mesa county-1st qtr 2014 (Attached).
11. Conduct no less than 4 exercise programs per calendar year: This is a State requirement. County requirement is to sponsor or participate in a minimum of 3 exercises.
12. Adhere to guidelines: No responsive documents.

Now here is the complete paper trail all received via CORA request.  As you will see the paper trail deal with the devil is long but in the end all of these Grants wipe away our state and local 10th Amendment controls! 

Wednesday
Feb252015

Undersheriff Rebecca Spiess signed off on several Senator Steve King's 2013 Time Sheets!

VetTheGov finally received former Senator Steve King's time cards from Mesa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) after several request last year.  Now that former Senator King has plead guilty to felony embezzlement and misdemeanor misconduct, VetTheGov performed an audit of 2013 MCSO time sheets submitted and compared them to the Colorado Mesa University time sheets submitted.  See the 2013 audited time sheets here

MCSO Undersheriff Rebecca Spiess signed off on Four of Six 2013 Senator King time sheets.  These time sheets placed Senator King at both MCSO and CMU at the same exact times and in many of the overlaps were at least Five hours each of these days. The grand total of 196.5 hours at $25.00 per hour rate or $4912.50 were allowed directly by the Undersheriff or by her command staff.  How does a command staff lose track of a Senator leaving for over Five hours or simply not know that King was hanging out at CMU?  One has to wonder at the complete and utter incompetence from behind the MCSO thin green line command staff.  Yet under newly elected Fourth Amendment violator Sheriff Matt Lewis, Rebecca Spiess is still the MCSO Undersheriff!  

VetTheGov believes the Undersheriff and then Sheriff Stan Hilkey allowed the embezzlement to occur because as the Senator mentioned to the Arapahoe County District Attorney investigator during the interview the Senator has always been allowed to embezzle the taxpayers over the years!  Surely many insiders at MCSO knew this very well. VetTheGov wonders what really happened in May of 2014 that caused the Sheriff and Undersheriff to turn on the Senator and his time card madness?  Many questions will forever persist from this event along with the timing and release of the internal affairs investigation performed by Undersheriff Spiess which has never been investigated.  It also leaves open the question as to how many hours since 2007 were signed off as valid worked on duty hours with a missing in action elected representative?  Mesa County citizens can't have access to what should be the most transparent agency in the county because discretion reigns with the Sheriff and Undersheriff.

The same amount of hours 196.5 were also embezzled from CMU by super cop Senator King, who often could be in two places at the same exact times, for a grand theft total of $4170.00 additional taxpayer dollars.  However Steve King only plead to an amount noted in the Grand Junction Sentinel of $4862.00.  Based on the VetTheGov audit the total theft in the 2013-2014 time card scandal was actually $9082.50.  Who at CMU is responsible for allowing this criminal activity to persist?  Don't snoop to close as many have a very clear idea of the inner circle connections in this valley that manipulate the masses for personal gain.

VetTheGov also audited Senator King's legislative calendar for conflicts that include lunch breaks or meetings during on duty MCSO or CMU billed hours.  See the 2013 legislative audited calendar here.  Calendar time sheet shows 29 conflicted hours billed for another $657.50 of your tax dollars!

This is why Mesa County citizens have lost complete confidence in our local government officials for incidents such as these but for whatever reasons they continue forth in their day to day's with ZERO ACCOUNTABILITY!!!  VetTheGov in the very near future will push forth the placing of a Citizens Review Board as it is way overdue in Mesa Valley governments.  Thanks for reading and enjoying VetTheGov and stay tuned as more corruption coming to light in the very near future!  

Friday
Oct242014

Mesa County Employee Healthcare Options in Question. No Real Answers from Frank Whidden regarding St. Mary's.

Subject: Confusion over Health InsuranceCommissioners:Last Friday, I submitted a CORA request asking for a copy of the recent Email sent to County employees regarding 2015 health insurance.  I also asked for a copy of any documentation that will be distributed at the upcoming  "open enrollment". Yesterday, Angela provided two documents which are attached.

Please note that the Email sent from Frank Whidden to staff on October 14 says that "St. Mary's hospital will be in network for services that Community Hospital cannot provide at this time (such as maternity, emergencies, radiology, etc.)".

The handout to employees defines (on page 5)  in network hospitals to be  "Community Hospital and University of Utah Hospital"  All other hospitals are out  of network  "except  for emergency care and maternity".   By this definition there are only two services that will be treated as in network if provided at St. Mary's.   This is way different than what was said in Frank's email.  If this wording is to be believed, many patients will be faced with choosing between paying through the teeth to stay at St. Mary's or being shipped to Salt Lake City.   Think of pre-mature babies, pediatric ICU,  cancer patient, heart patients, neurosurgery, etc.

I have attached the 2014 EPO schedule of benefits which lists  (on page 4) a whole variety of services that are treated as in network if provided at St. Mary's.  No such list is included for 2015 and there is no disclosure to employees that  the option of using St. Mary's has been changed. In fact, at the top of page 6 of the employee handout it says "EPO Plan Design - No Change".

Obviously one of the stories has to be changed quickly and I imagine the temptation will be to stick to what Frank said in the Email because that will cause the least grief to employees.  But the financial impacts of taking the easy way out should be considered carefully.

On October 6, Frank distributed the attached document with the title "Hand out 10_6_14."  On page 4, the "Claims @ maximum"  line is $7.6 million if there is "no change to benefits or network" and $6.4 million "with U of U and Community as in-network facilities".   At the meeting Frank explained that these amounts are the aggregate  limits for the two options assuming the same premium amount is paid to Sun Life of Canada.   Frank also explained that the reason Sun Life has the two quotes is because they were told that--except for maternity and ER--St. Mary's would be treated as out of network.   Several times he emphasized the word "steerage"  to describe the intentional effort to steer business away from St. Mary's.,

If Sun Life has been told that the St. Mary's changes have been implemented and the County instead allows in network treatment at St. Mary's as defined in Frank's email, the County may be breeching its contract with Sun Life.  If the County goes back to Sun Life and changes the rules, Sun Life will surely either increase the premiums it charges or increase the level of risk assumed by the County. If either action is taken, the 2015 budget will need to be increased even further to make up for the mismanagement of the plan.

The Commissioners need to take control of this process--NOW!  Obviously the staff is way over its head and is creating as unacceptable level of risk for Mesa County. 

The employees deserve to be told the truth.

Dennis

P.S.  The handout to employees does not disclose the out of pocket max for out of network services.  Does that mean there is no out of pocket max?   If there is no out of pocket max, the decision to make St. Mary's out of network could be even more catastrophic to county employees.

P.P.S.  The 2015 "travel benefit" is limited to $1.000 per year.  The cost to transport a premie baby to Salt Lake is probably closer to $20,000.   Will the employee be responsible for the difference?

Now let's sit back and watch who caters to Federal Overreach from the progressive big government insiders of Mesa County government headquarters when the tax payer funded paychecks get smaller and smaller for the little people inside those same walls.  Stay tuned!

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep232014

Sgt. Matt Lewis 4th Amendment Update-Mesa County pays over $71K in Attorney's fees

VetTheGov finally received back its CORA request regarding specific documentation of the previous questions asked regarding Sgt. Matt Lewis response to a local reporter on the 4th Amendment Civil Lawsuit.

VetTheGov has been told by Mesa County officials that no Confidentiality agreement is on file or been completed by Mesa County on Sgt. Lewis' behalf. See Letter. This would mean that Sgt. Lewis misrepresented in his interview comment.  

VetTheGov was told by Mesa County officials that no Settlement amount was paid by the County. This would mean another misrepresented comment by Sgt. Matt Lewis and the fact that he could be in violation of the "unable to locate" Mesa County Confidentiality Agreement he mentioned in his interview.

Ironically Mesa County taxpayers did cover the involved deputies attorney bills paid to Alan Hassler in the amount of $71,297.32.  

So the question becomes WHO PAID THE SETTLEMENT? Sgt. Matt Lewis has publicly stated the County paid and the County is continuing to say they didn't. Surely since the deputies didn't pay for attorney's fees then they didn't pay the Settlement out of their own pockets either. If an Insurance Company for Mesa County paid the Settlement, then wouldn't that still be considered Public Knowledge since the Taxpayers pay these premiums as well?

Surely if an Insurance Payout happened then Mesa County taxpayers can rest assured these Premiums have been raised. Stay Tuned as the Mesa County Sheriff's Office Settlement roller coaster is just beginning with the big turns and upside down flips! 

Monday
Sep222014

VetTheGov Rescinding Comment and Public Apology regarding Wayne Weyler

VetTheGov in a previous story mentioned in a brief sentence regarding then Lt. Wayne Weyler had a Brady letter.  VetTheGov received this information from Christopher Durham who received the information from a supposed reliable source Chris Franz, former professional standards deputy from Mesa County.  After receiving some comments on VetTheGov a call was made to once again confirm the information as fact.  The conversation suddenly became a statement that it was apparently miscommunication from the so called 100% reliable source. 

VetTheGov prides itself on relaying factual information and now after receiving confirmation from not only a CORA request to Mesa County but also an email confirmation from the Mesa County District Attorney's Office, VetTheGov publicly rescinds the comment regarding a Brady letter in Wayne Weyler's personnel file and makes a public apology to Wayne Weyler.  Wayne Weyler had no Brady letters on file nor has the DA's Office ever seen a Brady letter come across their desk related to Wayne Weyler.

VetTheGov is also publicly announcing it endorses No candidate for Mesa County Sheriff and is not actively involved or participating in any candidates campaign! 

VetTheGov will continue to strive for local government transparency especially regarding the 4th Amendment violation written about in earlier stories.  This behavior must be stopped and rights of individual human beings should never be violated even in the worse of circumstances.

Sunday
Sep212014

Someone Lying in Mesa County Government over 4th Amendment Settlement.

Mesa County citizens it is becoming increasingly troubling when your supposed transparent county government can't and won't keep itself accountable.  Since the VetTheGov story hit regarding Mesa County Sheriff candidate Sgt. Matt Lewis and the settlement of a 4th Amendment violation, illegal arrest, and excessive force civil lawsuit, fingers are pointing and the cover up continues with one or both parties LYING.

On August 14th, 2014 VetTheGov requested via CORA the settlement amount regarding Travis Brickey civil lawsuit settlement with Mesa County via its contracted attorney Alan Hassler regarding Case # 11-cv-2175.  On August 18th, 2014 a letter in response to the CORA request by Mesa County Asst. Attorney Angela Barnes stated that there are no documents responsive to the request and that Mesa County was not a party to the case even though five Mesa County deputies were named in the suit and a contracted county attorney represented the Mesa County deputies on the case.  On face value there is already a conflict of interest if Mesa County was not named in the suit and the deputies used a Mesa County contracted attorney.  See Colorado Bar Rule 1.7.

Since the CORA  request, Sgt. Matt Lewis responded to the media regarding the civil case in which he stated he was bound by a confidentiality letter placed on his behalf by Mesa County and that the County decided to settle an undisclosed amount to Travis Brickey.  It was also learned that the attorney for Travis Brickey confirmed Mesa County in fact did settle and could not disclose the amount.  After Sgt. Matt Lewis confidentiality agreement BREACH of discussing the case with local reporter Jesse Nelson representing West Slope Watchdog, VetTheGov initiated another CORA request on September 8th, 2014 to Mesa County Asst. Attorney Angela Barnes in which all County Commissioners were copied and included the audio interview with Sgt. Lewis and requested the following:

  • The Settlement amount?
  • If the County indeed filed a Confidentiality Agreement on behalf of Sgt. Matt Lewis
  • If Mesa County hired Alan Hassler for the named defendants and if not wouldn't this hiring be a conflict of interest?
  • If Alan Hassler was hired by the County, what was the County billed for his services?

VetTheGov received a letter dated September 8th, 2014 that reads as follows and VetTheGov must add NO RESPONSE from any elected County Commissioner Steve Acquafresca, Rose Pugliese, or John Justman:

"The Colorado Open Records Act (C.R.S. 24-72-200.1, et seq.) governs how governmental agencies in Colorado are to comply with citizen request for information.  The "CORA" contemplates, and only contemplates, records.  it is a detailed act governing record release circumstances.  If you are seeking records, your email letter does not set forth those that you are seeking."

What gets interesting is that an attached document to the letter shows an email from Commissioner Steve Acquafresca on September 8th, 2014 referring to an earlier conversation with Tom Fisher Mesa County Administrator that states:

"Tom - this is exactly what we were talking about this morning.  Please assist Angela with her response. SA"

The County Commissioners cannot play dumb now since that Commissioner Aquafresca copied in the other two Commissioners in his email to Tom.  They are all privy to the issue and let's see who will rise above partisan politics in order to demand complete transparency with OUR government.  If the Commissioners play safe then we must demand a complete investigation into our entire local government and then it's time for them all to go!

The dilemma now set forth is that either the County is LYING that they were involved in such settlement with Travis Brickey or Sgt. Matt Lewis in his professional position as a deputy sheriff for Mesa County is LYING.  Whoever is found to be UNTRUTHFUL you can rest assured VetTheGov will demand resolution and termination. 

VetTheGov has since sent another CORA request on September 15th, 2014 requesting the following and no response yet received:

  • Sgt. Matt Lewis signed confidentiality agreement by Mesa County regarding his civil case settlement involving Travis Brickey and Mesa County provided council Alan Hassler.
  • Contract and payments between Mesa County and Alan Hassler for representing Sgt. Matt Lewis regarding Travis Brickey 4th Amendment excessive force civil case.
  • Total Mesa County settlement amount paid to Travis Brickey in the form of check or money transfer receipt.

It will be interesting as events unfold and information released of who actually paid the settlement along with the amount and who is LYING to Mesa County citizens.  Either way it puts a Sheriff Candidate in the hot seat as an out of control COST to County taxpayers willing to LIE for the position or it exposes a County government that is unwilling to be open and transparent with its tax paying citizens by hiding the Truth for the sake of partisan politics right before your very eyes.  Who will step up and be the light of TRUTH?  Stay tuned...

Friday
Aug292014

Mesa County Sheriff Candidate Sgt. Matt Lewis 4th Amendment Violation and Excessive Force Civil Suit Settlement!

In a recent interview by VetTheGov with Sgt. Matt Lewis was asked about Colorado Civil Case number 1:11-cv-02175-RM-MEH where he was personally sued for wrongful arrest by illegal means and using excessive force by surprising the victim with a taser shot to the neck and a hard takedown to the ground.  Sgt. Lewis told VetTheGov that he would do the same exact thing given the same circumstances and stood behind his decisions he made to arrest an innocent man on August 21, 2010. 

VetTheGov asked Sgt. Lewis if there was an internal affairs investigation performed regarding his actions and he was not sure but assumed so.  VetTheGov also asked Sgt. Lewis if a Constitutional violation like this occurred while he was Sheriff how would he respond internally and the question was never really answered as he stated again he would stand behind this event in similar circumstances.

Sgt. Matt Lewis also failed to disclose this incident in his recent Q & A # 5 to the republican party chair Lois Dunn and the vacancy selection committee after Steve King removed himself from the race.  In the law enforcement community this is a major violation and should have been noted in his response to the party questionnaire regarding anything else we hear about but has also decided not to release his internal affairs complaint file to the public.

VetTheGov will dissect the facts of the case that was deemed a 4th Amendment Violation by deputies on the scene by Judge Marcia Kreiger Chief US District Judge and then ordered to trial for the additional excessive force and wrongful arrest of the victim on March 19, 2013. 

In the rulings by Judge Kreiger she breaks down the days events as follows:

  • 911 call received by a neighbor for a possible domestic dispute between a couple at victims house
  • Deputies Joesph Crawford and Deputy Corben Telinde were the first to arrive at the victim's residence
  • Deputies escorted a crying female away from the residence and asked if any guns in the house and who the female was fighting with.  Upon multiple conflicting statements by the female of who the domestic partner was the deputies focused on the victim who seemed very distraught that the deputies were on his property.
  • Some verbal discussions were attempted with the victim but he was asking for deputies to leave his property and were not welcomed.  The victim was extremely agitated and emotional and told the deputies he did not have a gun.
  • Sgt. Matt Lewis and other deputies arrived on scene and Sgt. Lewis took command and positioned several deputies around the victims house with guns drawn.  
  • With very little knowledge if in fact the victim committed any crime the decision was made by Sgt. Lewis to arrest the victim all while being videotaped by a patrol car dash cam. 
  • Sgt. Lewis along with Deputy Telinde after approximately 30 minutes on scene approached the victims front door after he retreated inside and staged with Deputy Telinde drew his taser to the ready position. The decision for staging at the door was made by Lt. Wayne Weyler who is also a Brady Letter recipient. 
  • Sgt. Lewis told the court in deposition that Deputy Telinde was authorized to have his taser ready but Sgt. Lewis stated the decision to deploy was all Deputy Telinde's decision.  Deputy Telinde stated in his deposition that he was under the impression to deploy the taser if the victim gave him a clear shot. (Now this is where a true Leader and the on site Commander would stick up for the decisions made of his lower ranking Deputies standing side by side in this event but in this case and testimony Sgt. Lewis throws Deputy Telinde under the bus with his statements that Deputy Telinde acted alone).  Interesting to note that Sgt. Lewis never filed a report for his part in this arrest.  Sgt. Lewis stated in deposition it was at his discretion.  The confusion continues as depositions are taken and the stories begin to change and the inferences and lack of communication and judgement by a so called professional agency show the ugly sides of remembering the event that unfolded between the Defendants and the victim. Let's just say if this is how a professional law enforcement agency operates, then Mesa County citizens WE HAVE A PROBLEM!

Judge Kreiger pre-trial response to motions by both parties are as follows especially regarding the 4th Amendment violation:

  • Judge Kreiger points out immediately that the Defendants had different stories regarding probable cause to arrest.  Sgt. Lewis testified they were arresting the victim for "domestic assault" along with Deputy Andrew Means.  However Deputy Crawford testified he thought they were arresting victim for threats to shoot the defendants. Remember Deputy Crawford first Deputy on scene and first interviewed the battered intoxicated female yet understood the victim was not the suspect.
  • Here, the general contours of a person’s 4th Amendment right to be free from a warrantless arrest, unsupported by probable cause, is so axiomatic as to require no particular citation. See Olsen v. Layton Hills Mall, 312 F.3d 1304, 1312 (10th Cir. 2002). Under Mr. Brickey’s version of events, he made no threats against the Deputies (or anyone else), and the worst that can be said of him was that he shouted profanities at law enforcement officers from the porch of his home. In Stearns v. Clarkson, 615 F.3d 1278, 1283-84 (10th Cir, 2010), the 10th Circuit noted that “it [is] well-settled that profanity, especially toward police officers, does not” create probable cause to arrest a person even for disorderly conduct, much less any other offense. Thus, the Court finds that, taking the facts in the light most favorable to Mr. Brickey, the Defendants’ actions violated his clearly established 4th Amendment rights.
  • The Court further finds that the law clearly establishes that police officers cannot lawfully resort to deploying a taser to arrest a non-violent suspect without first giving any warnings to the suspect or attempting to obtain the suspect’s compliance via voluntary instructions. Casey, 509 F.3d at 1285-86.
  • As noted above, there is evidence in the record to indicate that the Defendants acted without probable cause in arresting Mr. Brickey, and arguably, there might even be evidence that the Defendants acted negligently in correctly assessing and adapting to the realities of the situation (i.e. by failing to obtain more information when inconsistencies appeared, or by failing to request Mr. Brickey to submit to voluntary arrest).

After Judge Kreiger approved the case forward to trial on March 19, 2013 for the excessive force and arrest without probable cause, within 2 months the entire case was settled and Dismissed with Prejudice Res Judicata and did not go to trial.  Since Mesa County was not named in the civil suit, Mesa County citizens, per the Mesa County Attorney's Office, were not responsible parties and therefore no Mesa County tax funds or insurance used in the settlement.  However one of the named Defendants Sgt. Matt Lewis now wants to be your Sheriff which should alarm all of Mesa County!

Stay tuned as more information is attempted to be collected.  If you have any relevant information regarding this case please contact VetTheGov and your anonymity if requested will be protected please use the contact us section on VetTheGov or feel free to comment away.

Wednesday
Aug062014

New Documents surface regarding Senator Steve King's very cozy relationship with CMU

VetTheGov sent another CORA request to Colorado Mesa University regarding any other contract employment regarding now felonious charged and still State Senator Steve King and another 14 pages of documents were provided. Senator Steve King has been owner of a private Colorado company called American National Protective Services since March 22, 2000 but currently showing delinquent as of May 2012 along with several years of failing to file annual reports.

In the CORA request specific to American National Protective Services the company received a purchase order from CMU for $17,850.00 from July 15, 2008 to December 31, 2008. This PO required Senator King's private company to conduct a security audit, train staff, and review policies and procedures. In a separate letter from Andrew Breckel III confirmed the requirements of the newly issued PO to Senator King and at the bottom of the page you notice a Cc to Tim Foster, President of CMU. There can now be no claim that President Foster was never aware of disclosing this cozy relationship with Senator King since 2008. It is beginning to take shape that CMU offered this position for returned favors in Denver when you look back historically of what was happening at that time.

Gayle Berry a Mesa State graduate was hired as a professional lobbyist for the college and there were huge funds coming in over the next couple of years around this time and CMU positioned themselves well to receive a large chunk of these dollars. From the Independent Post September 2, 2008

Mesa State College could get 50 percent more money from the state next year if a request for increased funding is approved by the governor's budget office.

Increases year to year are common because of inflation or increased operations costs, said Gayle Berry, a Denver-based lobbyist for Mesa State. The proposed increase would take Mesa State from a $49.5 million 2008-2009 appropriation of cash and reappropriated funds from the state budget to nearly $75 million.

Where the money could be spent will be discussed this morning at a Mesa State Board of Trustees meeting, said College President Tim Foster. He expects 2009-2010 state appropriations for the college to come in somewhere between $50 million and $75 million.

Gayle Berry CMU Lobbyist was also a very active contributor to Senator Steve King, even back in 2008 as King was then Representative of House District 54. Gayle Berry recently supported Governor Hickenlooper with 1100.00. Gayle has spent over 12,235.00 in political contributions since 2009 and surely hoping to receive very kind votes for CMU funding. Remember the money Gayle spends are public tax dollars! This should make you wonder if the recent republican east coast infusion of money to get Tancredo out of the governors race is due to keeping Hickenlooper in office by putting up a much inferior republican opponent to protect the elites investments.

VetTheGov has a couple more questions that need answers such as the actual audit report Senator Steve King was to complete for CMU per the PO and if CMU put this opportunity out to bid. VetTheGov has also received more leads about other local government connections and payments regarding Senator Steve King's services, so stay tuned as there is plenty more to come.

So far the local media has only scratched the surface into these conflict of interest relationships with Senator Steve King but rest assured VetTheGov is following the money trail and will keep you up to speed as your local  investigative partner and VetTheGov will make transparent the very close knit connections in Mesa County that protect the fractional reserve bankers and the investors they lure to get and use your tax monies for personal gain!

Monday
Jul142014

Senator Steve King and Colorado Mesa University $144 Million BOND game!

VetTheGov has discovered through recent CORA request that Senator Steve King and now stained candidate for Mesa County Sheriff was offered security positions at Colorado Mesa University (CMU) while not in legislative session in Denver. As VetTheGov slowly sifts through all these documents an interesting theme came to light called BONDS.

VetTheGov often follows the money trail and usually ends up being the tell tail sign of improprieties. So as usual VetTheGov started down the money trail and it exposes the CMU Bond game. Surely CMU students will want to know why their tuition rates rise each and every year so rapidly. Well look no further as there are Investors that need paid. CMU is just another one of those shell games that give students a certificate by paying thousands of dollars and in return CMU gets to take care of their Bond investment pool in annual tax haven returns.

Senator Steve King during his terms from 2012 to present has served on the Legislative Audit Committee in which Senator King has oversight on financial matters and has served as Chair and Vice-Chair during this tenure. This committee also performs annual audits for all of Colorado's higher education and investment funds that get used for Bond placements. 

Well that brings us back to CMU and Senator Steve "Audit" King. VetTheGov found State Audits from Senator King's legislative Audit committee reports and these same audits were found attached to CMU Bond placements. The most recent Bond placement is for an additional $39.1 Million. The scary part is that CMU has over $144.4 Million in outstanding Bond placements since 2009. 

It's no wonder Senator King never disclosed his CMU relationship as it again proves the massive Conflict of Interest between a State Senator with access to insider Audits that allow ratings companies such as Moody's etc., to rate the Millions in CMU Bond placements to entice investors which received an Aa2 rating thanks to the audit. Investors never need to worry because if CMU defaults the State Intercept Bailout Program gets enacted.

Hopefully you are just getting a preview of the many insider scams in a small college town near you as they appear to educate on the outside but on the inside there is money to be made at any cost, even illegally hiring a local State Senator behind the scenes! Wouldn't it be nice to know who the Investors are in this inner web of deception? 

Stay tuned as VetTheGov continues to explore the enriching part of higher education! Thanks for reading and would enjoy hearing your comments.

Saturday
Jul122014

UPDATE: Senator Steve King Non-disclosed CMU contract & Time Sheets turned over to Arapahoe DA! 

After VetTheGov received recent CORA documents from Colorado Mesa University (CMU) and from the Secretary of State (SOS) and it was determined that Senator Steve King did not disclose his contracted position at CMU on his annual financial disclosure an email was sent back to the SOS to file a complaint. See original Breaking story here on Senator Steve King's failure to disclose INCOME from CMU.

VetTheGov received the following statement from Andrew Cole in the SOS office:

"Willfully filing a false disclosure is noted as a misdemeanor in statute so it would be dealt with by the District Attorney, rather than our office."

VetTheGov contacted the Arapahoe County Assistant District Attorney's Office and received an email address to forward the documents. So add another crime to the list of offenses and ethics violations committed by Senator Steve King!

VetTheGov hopes that DA Mark Hurlbert who tried and lost the Kobe Bryant case and who dropped down charges for a wealth manager will actually investigate and apply the necessary charges to a corrupt special interest elected official who thinks he still deserves to be the Mesa County Sheriff!

Stay tuned as there is more to come... 

Friday
Jul112014

BREAKING: Senator Steve King never disclosed his contracted position at Colorado Mesa University on his required Financial Disclosure forms!

VetTheGov has determined through recent CORA request from Colorado Secretary of States Office that Senator Steve King never mentioned or disclosed per Colorado Law his Colorado Mesa University contracted positions for 2012 and 2013.

On July 31, 2009 then Representative Steve King submitted his required Financial Statement. On page 2, the box requires all INCOME to be noted which includes the name of the organization he works for and if he receives or his spouse receives the income. Steve King placed his Mesa County Sheriff's Office position but no mention of anything at CMU. Makes sense as he didn't receive the CMU positions until 2012 and 2013. Senator Steve King is required to file a new financial disclosure every year as an elected official and either note new changes or simply check the box that states Annual Update-No Change. 

Senator King's first position at CMU started on August 1, 2012 and ended December 31, 2012. Senator Steve King would have been required to share this new INCOME in his 2012 annual financial disclosure filed with the SOS on January 10, 2013 yet only checked the box marked Annual Update-No Change with no mention of his CMU INCOME. 

Senator Steve King contracted his second position with CMU on July 1, 2013 and ended December 31, 2013. So as required Senator King's next financial disclosure was due by January 10, 2014. VetTheGov received the 2014 filing and as suspected the box marked Annual Update-No Change was marked. Again no mention of INCOME received from his hours billed to CMU per his contract.

CRS 24-6-202(7)

(7) Any person who willfully files a false or incomplete disclosure statement, amendment, or notice that no amendment is required, or who willfully files a false or incomplete copy of any federal income tax return or a false or incomplete certified statement of investments, or who willfully fails to make any filing required by this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars nor more than five thousand dollars.

VetTheGov will continue to stay close to this story as there appears to be a massive conflict of interest and criminal activity against the citizens of Senate District 7 and Mesa County. Stay tuned to VetTheGov as the wonderful world of political favoritism and insider paid access shines forth!

Sunday
Jul062014

A day in the life of time sheets featuring State Senator Steve King

Since the magnifying glass has suddenly focused on superstar Senator Steve King who is a legend in his own mind, law enforcer of the millennium, touts an unblemished political and law enforcement career choke choke, seems to have only ever protected Presidents since his resume highlights his 20-year Presidential protective services working directly with Secret Service agents, and his cush appointed jobs within Mesa County leaves open the door to a world of political favors and mulitiple time sheet manipulations.

VetTheGov through recent CORA request has discovered Senator King received a two special positions at Colorado Mesa University (CMU) from July 28, 2012 until December 24, 2013 and on average worked and filled out time sheets between 160 to 190 hours a month during these dates. On top of these hours, Senator King also was working his other appointed position at the Mesa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) and filled out time sheets during these same time frames on average between 80 to 100 hours a month. 

VetTheGov further leaned that in between his privileged jobs he drove to Denver and back for legislative meetings.  For example during the month of October 2013 billing cycles, Senator King billed CMU for 161 hours, billed MCSO for 103 hours, drove to Denver on September 30th and spent the day in Denver on October 1st and drove back to Grand Junction (approx. 16 hours), drove back to Denver on October 6 after working at CMU for 7 hours and spent the next day and night in Denver and drove back to Grand Junction on the 8th (approx. 20 hours), and last trip to Denver on October 28th after working a 10 hour shift at CMU and returned October 31 and began another 10 hour shift at CMU that started at 9 AM (approx. 24 legislative hours).  Not to mention Senator King also has a private sector business called American National Protective Services in which he is Chief Operating Officer. Whew right? If VetTheGov only has hotel receipts of check-in and check-out times, if VetTheGov were allowed access to his MCSO time sheets that are suddenly under investigation and sealed, we might learn that Senator King worked in multiple places at the same time or that he simply never sleeps.

Senator King was then back in Denver on October 3, 2013 for his on record vote for the mental illness committee he attended and of course all of this between two CMU shifts the day prior October 2nd of 8 hours from 1200-2000 and then on October 4th a 10-hour shift from 1130-2130. No legislative billing for driving, meals, or hotel stay. Another mistake? Or did he just stay in Denver after his October 1st committee meeting and bill CMU on the 2nd keeping CMU safe while in Denver?  

Appears on the face value that Senator King would of worked some 338 hours or 85 hours weekly in October with some very mysterious conflicts of time. Hopefully soon the Arapahoe District Attorney's Office will release the remainder of his 44 or so time sheets in the interest of the Mesa County taxpayers!

On September 11, 2013 Senator King's CMU time sheets reflects hours worked from 11 AM to 7 PM yet also attended a legislative meeting in Grand Junction on CMU campus from 2 PM to 4 PM. Surely a legislative session is not in Senator King's CMU security job description of billing CMU while acting in role of Senator for this time away from his duties?  

VetTheGov ask you the taxpayers why CMU and MCSO are allowed to hire a sitting State Senator and candidate for Sheriff, run over to Denver in between these gigs and vote on bills that could potentially favor the governmental agencies he is working for? Convenient political favors need to stop in Mesa County or at least be reported to the Secretary of State's Office when hiring what appears to be a scratch my back and I will scratch yours legislative paying relationship.  

CMU is registered as a professional Colorado lobby group and MCSO is not. But why would MCSO need to be registered when you can simply hire a State Senator and Representative that can bill as many hours as he would like at MCSO? Here is the State Statute for your review and VetTheGov has contacted the SOS for this documentation and nothing has been filed by either entity regarding Senator King's employment: 
TITLE 24. GOVERNMENT - STATE ADMINISTRATION  
ARTICLE 6. COLORADO SUNSHINE LAW  
PART 3. REGULATION OF LOBBYISTS
C.R.S. 24-6-306 Employment of legislators, legislative employees, or state employees - filing of statement
If any person who engages in lobbying employs or causes his employer to employ any member of the general assembly, any member of a rule-making board or commission, any rule-making official of a state agency, any employee of the general assembly, or any full-time state employee who remains in the partial employ of the state or any agency thereof, the new employer shall file a statement under oath with the secretary of state within fifteen days after such employment. The statement shall specify the nature of the employment, the name of the individual to be paid thereunder, and the amount of pay or consideration to be paid thereunder. 

SB14-001 added 100+ Million to higher education this year and Senator King was a yes vote.  In the Bill there was also additional line funding for CMU (b) $2,186,000 for the trustees of Colorado Mesa university, including $413,580 from student stipend payments and $1,772,420 from fee-for-service contracts. Interesting!

Here is a list of all higher education Bills from 2014 session-http://highered.colorado.gov/CCHE/Meetings/2014/may/2014%20DHE%20Legislative%20Status%20Sheet%20(5-9-14).pdf

Over 2/3 of his main Bill sponsoring during the 2014 legislative session were pro criminal Justice.

Stay tuned as VetTheGov continues shining light into the dark corners of Mesa County political favoritism and the benefits that obviously come with them for all the entities involved! Just keep in mind why the Morale remains low in Mesa County government when no raises for 3 years, top positions getting huge raises, and unlimited billing hours for the Senator and still Mesa County Sheriff candidate Brady letter FIRED ex-cop under criminal investigation.  

Saturday
Apr212012

Maybe this is Why Mesa County employee turnover is High and Moral low!

In a recent story in the Grand Junction Sentinel regarding Mesa County turnover rates, VetTheGov dug in a little deeper as to the more likely reasons. Could it be that County workers are seeing positions removed in order for the elite few to receive raises??? Let's take a look!

VetTheGov has highlighted some positions located on page one of the 2010 & 2011 annual salaries posted on Mesa County's website.

Starting with the elected County Commissioners pay you will notice two of the three received raises from the $72,500 up to $76,600 & $76,700. Only one Commissioner in 2011 received the usual $72,500 annual salary.

The next thing that jumps off the page is the position of Deputy Assessor-Administration pay in 2010 was $80,775.95 and dropped all the way to $71,118.37. Could this be why the next highlighted position below that one is Director of Financial Services which saw their salary INCREASE from $102,745.92 in 2010 up to $107,371.93??? As you continue through the entire salary structure of the County you find a very interesting trend of some winners and many losers on the pay scale freeze or even salary reductions. It just depends on the position you hold. Of course VetTheGov focused on all the director positions for the County and are broken down for your convenience.

Mesa County Director Position Salaries 2010 - 2011

  • Financial Services   $102,745.92 in 2010; raised to $107,371.93 in 2011
  • Public Works  $129,549.68 in 2010; raised to $139,871.06 in 2011
  • Director-CJSD  $102,541.68 in 2010; lowered to $99,450.12 in 2011
  • MV & Recording   $90,017.24 in 2010; lowered to $69,529.80 in 2011
  • Land Use & Dev   $90,017.24 in 2010; lowered to $87,732.84 in 2011
  • Environmental Health   $90,618.05 in 2010; lowered  to $89,427.00 in 2011
  • Prevention & ED  $58,368.68 in 2010; raised to $60,732.00 in 2011
  • Long Range Planning   $90,660.44 in 2010; lowered to $88,148.64 in 2011
  • Dept. Health Services   $99,983.12 in 2010; raised to $106,183.38 in 2011
  • Waste management   $72,375.18 in 2010; raised to $82,716.12 in 2011
  • Assit. to Public Works Dir.   $62,347.37 in 2010; lowered to $59,645.04 in 2011
  • Dev. Engineer   $91,646.90 in 2010; raised to $96,176.76 in 2011
  • Health Prep   $82,850.77 in 2010; raised to $89,684.76 in 2011
  • Planning   $115,122.88 in 2010; lowered to $87,732.84 in 2011
  • Health Dept.   $86,391.99 in 2010; raised to $101,976.10 in 2011
  • Elections   $45,600.00 in 2010; kept at $45,600.00 in 2011
  • Animal Services   $67,893.06 in 2010; raised to $77,070.96 in 2011
  • Engineering Div.   $103,240.09 in 2010 lowered to $100,542.84 in 2011
  • Div. Director-CJSD   $91,661.77 in 2010; lowered to $88,676.64 in 2011
  • AAA  $58,471.87 in 2010; lowered to $57,093.99 in 2011
  • Public Relations   $65,989.77 in 2010; lowered to $107,371.93 in 2011
  • Clinical Services   $28,292.51 in 2010; raised to $88,065.04 in 2011
  • Family & Children   $85,162.88 in 2010; lowered to $67,905.16 in 2011
  • Health Admin. Svcs $86,391.99 in 2010; raised to $92,321.04 in 2011
  • Div. Dir.-CJSD  $94,114.66 in 2010; lowered to $89,201.89 in 2011
  • SS & EMP   $71,104.46 in 2010; lowered to $69,300.00 in 2011
  • Workforce Center   $87,562.88 in 2010; raised to $93,783.80 in 2011
  • County Attorney   $122,111.22 in 2010; lowered to $112,561.60 in 2011
  • IT Manager   $88,276.25 in 2010; raised to $92,227.33 in 2011

District Attorney's Office/Law Enforcement Directors

  • District Attorney   $149,215.56 in 2010; raised to $164,522.60 in 2011
  • Assit. DA   $136,251.24 in 2010; raised to $140,875.68 in 2011
  • Chief Deputy DA  $114,688.44 in 2010; raised to $116,204.90 in 2011
  • Senior Trial DA   $66,246.96 in 2010; raised to $71,931.98 in 2011
  • Sheriff   $87,900.08 in 2010; lowered to $87,700.08 in 2011
  • Chief Deputy Undersheriff   $107,911.12 in 2010; lowered to $106,293.84 in 2011
  • Division Commander   $102,542.47 in 2010; raised to $104,948.04 in 2011

All the above Salaries do not include the additional 25% in benefits received by County employees.

The biggest question that needs answered to the taxpayers of Mesa County is when the media reports no raises for Three years in a row during the economic downturn and over 19.5% unemployment locally, why do we see so many increases in certain Director's pay and yet in lower positions we see salaries cut drastically or positions removed??? Maybe just maybe this is the reason for the high turnover and low moral in many departments.

Another question needing answers are how can this model of government continue to be funded and supported??? VetTheGov believes attrition will continue within the agency especially when the higher salaried positions begin having to take more hits to their pay and benefits! What do you think???

Stay tuned to VetTheGov as the County budget for 2012 will be compared to last years budget!

Saturday
Jul022011

BIG Government's appetite for Fossil Fuels!

VetTheGov just returned from a trip to Australia and was dumbfounded by the hypocrisy of its government regarding pollution and energy consumption. Australia is definitely the poster child for how a government controls pollution from its businesses, citizens, and visitors, right? Think again! Be on the lookout as the United States is watching Australia closely so they can bring forth their Cap & Tax scheme soon!

VetTheGov read an interesting article while in Australia regarding the governments Do as I Say not as I Do energy policy and consumption. When your government becomes the leading employer, largest asset owner, and dictator of all policy, they can't help but be the leading energy user. What's interesting to note is that the environmental justice groups are beginning to focus their attention on government. Surely a move the government was hoping to deflect with all the renewable energy programs implemented on the backs of the taxpayers. Australia lead the way with wind energy but look at all the hassles they now face such as noise pollution! Note: When walking around all the larger cities in Australia it was difficult to avoid all the second hand smoke. It appears Australians love tobacco and the government is enjoying the tax benefit! Also take note of the heavy handed fist used by the government to curb social behavior! If this is the case for tobacco then why aren't they using the same tactic to combat AIDS???

Industry specific areas of Australia seem to have different standards placed upon them. For instance, VetTheGov passed a sugar mill complex and couldn't help but notice two large smoke stacks spewing dirty pollution from them. See picture below! This is a $1.75 Billion dollar industry for Australia and no doubt the government is looking for new revenue streams from this industry. No Worries is a favorite saying in Australia and the government uses this to their benefit as you will see by the coming Carbon Tax soon to pass in the next couple of weeks.

Bringing this full circle back to the States and locally in Colorado, our government is consuming so much energy that the fight against the energy producers will intensify. In case you need more evidence of the energy used by government here is a great breakdown of the Department of Defense daily dose! Quick breakdown for those not reading the link: 2009 consumption of delivered 932 Trillion Btu's cost $13.3 Billion; emitted 73 Million tons of CO2; Use 360,000 barrels of oil daily.

For an idea of local energy government expenses, Mesa County spent $236,544.87 in energy and fuel related expenses in April 2011 alone. If you multiply over an annual basis this equals over $2.8 Million in energy cost! This total does not include all other related expenses such as air travel and travel reimbursements. VetTheGov must point out cost for the social justice program GVT which had cost of fuel and service fees from local tax dollars in April alone of $148,714.08. The City of Grand Junction uses somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.5 Million annually! If we add in all the school district and State government energy expenditures you can you see how quickly the need for Fossil Fuels arise for our government. 

So the question of the moment once again is the government concerned with your usage of energy more than they are concerned with their own usage? VetTheGov believes government wants you to curb your very small appetite for energy because they need more than you! Remember the next time you hear a story on energy, it should directly relate back to our government's use rather than yours! 

Monday
Jan032011

Mesa County Grand Valley Transit exposed! Part 2

VetTheGov recently spent some time riding a couple of routes. Here are some of the conversations we had with several riders and one route we took even had a Deputy Sheriff that works the buses off duty for safety reasons. We spoke with the Deputy of why they ride the buses and he mentioned it was a grant from Homeland Security due to threats against city transit by terrorist groups. The deputies ride four hour shifts mostly during higher riding days and is extra pay for them.

The day started at the Albertson's pickup location on route 11 that goes to the mall and back and then downtown to the transfer station. There was a male passenger at the stop who was wearing a GVT badge of some sort and we asked him if he worked for GVT.  The man stated he was wearing an annual bus pass and paid $87.00 annually for the pass.  We made the :15 past the hour bus that headed towards the mall first. The bus had eleven passengers on it when we climbed on.  

During the ride and observing the passengers most appeared to be homeless people. There was an exchange in front of us where an individual traded a full sub sandwich for just one cigarette. Where are the social justice police when you need them? We arrived at the the mall and everyone on the bus stepped off. They all huddled around the entrance to the mall and shared some cigarettes. Three people entered the bus for the return trip back towards Albertson's. The entire trip took over 40 minutes to make it back to where we first started. However our intentions were to make it to the downtown transfer station so we stayed on. Our next stop was just past the Colorado river where we picked up another homeless person who smelled of campfire. On to the transfer station with only two other passengers. 

Once at the transfer station we made it onto the route 5 bus which runs down North Ave. all the way to the Clifton transfer station. This was the largest of buses and most ridden bus for GVT. On the bus we spoke with several riders. One of the riders rode the bus to his workplace and he mentioned he was on a work release program. The rider paid 4.00 monthly since he was on work release and didn't like several things of having to ride this particular bus. He didn't like the inconvenience of the route having only one bus. He didn't like the fact he had to arrive to work 40 minutes before his shift in order to not be late. He also mentioned the buses stopped at 7 PM and he was unable to get home after work. Lastly he mentioned the bus did not travel on Sundays which seemed to be a huge inconvenience for him.

Another rider mentioned he was also on a work release program but currently had no employment. This rider received a free pass and had to make three contacts with potential employers during the day to receive the pass. 

We spoke with an anonymous source who rode the bus often and had many insightful observations for us. This source mentioned that most riders receive free passes for the bus since they are homeless and stay at the local shelters downtown. These homeless ride the bus to go eat and buy alcohol and basically use the bus to keep warm and have their social time together. We spoke with one 27 year old who used the bus to attend treatments for his emotional conditions and AA meetings. This person was on SSDI and stayed at an assisted living arrangement here in Grand Junction.

VetTheGov continued to learn that there was a single parent with a couple of kids that rode the bus to get to work and back. This single parent paid full price for the bus in order to support her family. We noticed that most of the riders had passes of some sort as not much money was ever placed into the payment box in the front of the buses.

The other main riders on the GVT system are high schoolers going to a school outside their district. The bus system works well for the kids since they begin so early in the morning and drop off near Grand Junction HS. With this demographic also brings trouble and we learned that drug deals happen often on these buses hence the need for deputies and video cameras on the buses. There is another influence that was the most disturbing for us and that is the influence of the group Insane Clown Posse within Grand Junction. Here is a webpage that shows some of the culture and lyrics used by this group/gang. This gang uses the bus as their mobile facebook and typically sit in the rear of the buses. They discuss how to use the government systems for their benefit so they can leach off of the system. Most of them don't work and are between 17-20 years old. You can recognize them because they wear the ICP logo clothing. They also learn from the lyrics and culture that is becoming very influential over the youth of our country that you the taxpayer are supporting without even knowing you are. Here is a story written in Phoenix about this group which gives a little insight about the culture of these juggalos.